Real Traveler Experiences

Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak)

One of the holiest mountains in Sri Lanka is the Sri Pada (Sacred Footprint) or Adam’s Peak (no actual proof for Adam from the Bible associated with this) Every year, thousands flock to the peak to worship the Sri Pada – the sacred footprint of the Lord Buddha and some others to see the beautiful Sunrise scenery.

association with religions

Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country and the 04 major religions are:

  • Buddhism
  • Catholicism
  • Hinduism
  • Islamism

Based on these 04 religions, there are various interpretations why this mountain is called the Sri Pada or the Adam’s Peak.

ReligionLegend associated with the mountain
BuddhismIt is believed that the footprint of the Lord Buddha is left on the mountain peak during a visit to Sri Lanka.
ChristiansSome Christians believe that Adam, the First Man set foot on this mountain when he was exiled from the Garden of Eden. So the name Adam's Peak
HindusTamil Hindu's take the legend with Lord Shiva, the footprint believed to be of Lord Shiva's. Also connected to Ramayana as the Trikuta - Capital of Ravana the King.
MuslimsMuslims too believe that it's the footprint for Adam - in the scriptures.

getting to sri pada

There are a several routes to get to Sri Pada. The Trails that lead to the peak are:

  1. Sri Palabaddala in Ratnapura
  2. Nallathanni in Hatton
  3. Erathna in Kuruwita
  4. Mookuwatte
  5. Murraywatte
  6. Malimboda

The famous routes are the Sri Palabaddala in Ratnapura and Nallathanni in Hatton. It is a common practice to climb from Nallathanni and climb down from Sri Palabadalla. This is the same routing we had but reverse. We climbed the way up from Sri Palabaddala and got down from the Nallathanni point.

There is public transport to get to Nallathanni and Sri Palabaddala and quite easy navigation too. There are supporting hikers at a price (LKR 6000) who would assist with the climb, making sure that the difficult parts are passed on with a little ease.

When to visit?

The Sri Pada Season starts with the Poya Day in the month of December and ends with the Poya Day in May. During the other months, it is difficult as the climb is hard because of the heavy rains, extreme wind and the thick mist.

April is considered to be the busiest month for the Sri Pada climbing as thousands flock daily for this climb. It’s very croweded during any long-weeekend during the months of December to May.

my journey to sri pada

Here goes the experience of climbing to the peak of the Sri Pada with 02 of my friends.

We selected the route from Sri Palabaddala as the entry and to get off from Nallathanni in Hatton. As we will be getting down from the other side, we thought of using the Public transport – the easy mode instead of driving all the way. Our travel dates were in October, considered to be the off-season and we expected a little rain and mist as well.

We left Colombo at 05.00 am on a Saturday and reached Ratnapura town by 07.30 am. The bus ride was quite fast but given the zig-zag roads, the drive was not consistent in speed. Upon reaching Ratnapura, we got in to the bus that lead us to Sri Palabaddala. This bus of course is leading to a rural village, with simple roads that are not so great for driving and way narrow in some areas.

By 09.00 am, we started the climb to Sri Pada. The road was only suitable for walking as there are thousands of steps along the way. We started with lots of energy and excitement but right after the 1st hour, it was getting tough and we started to slow down.

Along the way, usually during the Season (December to May), the villagers setup refreshment stalls. But, during the off-season, there wasn’t any on our climb.

The scenery is really beautiful and the views were breathtaking. With the cool climate along the way, our sweat almost dried up every time.

We climbed up top at 08.00 pm the same day. It was one of the most difficult climbs I had. With little water in our bottles and no proper food except for some sweets, the journey got very slow and difficult.

When we reached the top, it was so late at night and quite cold. We were all shivering as we were drained in the rainfall and the cold/heavy winds upon our bodies. We had to take shelter in the unused kitchen for the monks – which was a safe haven at the time. After all, we could not expect luxury on top of a mountain that is so basic.

We woke up around 05.30 am and came outside. To my surprise, at least 100 people were at the summit, waiting patiently for the Sunrise (Ira Sewaya). Little by little, the sky from the East got its Gold color and the Sun was finally spotted. It is such a beautiful moment – seeing the first sunrays kiss mother earth making it another day.

The Sunrise

At 06.30 am (Sunday) we started to climb down from the Sri Pada Peak. On our way back, we used the Nallathanni route which is considered to be the shorter distance. This is around 05 KMs in distance (a steep climb down). Along the way, there were many shops for refreshments. The climb down was easier as the distance was shorter and the refreshments were plenty.

The favorite refreshment for any Sri Pada climbed would be the hot-hot Roti and a cup of Tea / Coffee.

We took the short bus drive from Nallathanni to Hatton and arrived to Hatton by 11.30 am. From Hatton, we got into the Hatton – Colombo bus that dropped us in Colombo by 06.00 pm.

essentials for sri pada climb

  • A backpack – smaller the better
  • At least 02 bottles of 1 liter bottles
  • A few packets of biscuits / Snacks
  • A raincoat
  • A torch
  • Leech repellent (I found Salon Pas useful)
  • Salon Pas spray – helps in Muscle cramps
  • A Camera / Well-charged phone with Power bank

points to note

  • There are leeches on every route. So find Leech-socks or use the Salon Pas to drop the Leeches.
  • Toilets along the way are quite dirty as the public use them, every time.
  • There is very less Phone coverage on the peak.
  • No electricity available for the visitors. Please carry your own power banks.

The Sri Pada climb is one of the best experiences I’ve had. It was exciting, tiring but totally worth the climb. You get to see the beautiful sunrise, associate with the locals, share some amazing high-sugar coffee and tea with very hot and spicy Roti too.

The one who hasn’t climbed Sri Pada at least once is a fool and the one who climbs Sri Pada more than once is also a fool.

Sri Lankan saying

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